- How much has awareness of people with disabilities grown since you have become involved in public life?
AUDIENCE QUESTIONS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
- What are you going to do for the Traumatic Brain Injury population?
EDUCATION-RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION QUESTION
What policy changes would you favor to reduce or eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion of Washington students? What is your stance on legislation that would end the practice of restraint and seclusion for ALL students in Washington State?
EDUCATION – RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION
Some students with disabilities behave in ways that teachers and other school professionals can find challenging to manage. Schools develop plans to address behaviors, and with appropriate support and accommodation, all students can benefit from education in their local public school.
Many Washington schools continue to use restraint and seclusion on students who pose behavioral challenges, despite the risk of injury and other consequences for the student. Other schools have abandoned restraint and seclusion in favor of alternative behavioral support interventions.
Some states have eliminated the practice of restraint and seclusion of students entirely.
What are your ideas for bringing more people with disabilities into the workplace? What can be done to make sure that people with disabilities are prepared for work while still in school, and supported to ensure success in real jobs in our community?
The employment rate for people with disabilities is actually lower than it was back in 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, despite the protections that law brought. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than twice what it is for the general population.
Meanwhile, many transition age students with disabilities experience “simulated work”, but do not have an opportunity to try out real jobs prior to graduation.
The old model for employment of people with disabilities was sub-minimum wage, segregated workshops. Most of these are closed, and they are being phased out.
The good news is that thousands of individuals with disabilities are now in competitive-wage jobs in the community. However, while some are offered “supported employment” with a job coach, thousands of other persons with disabilities have no job and no help finding and keeping one. Many end up sitting at home in front of a TV all day.
POLICE USE OF FORCE QUESTION QUESTION:
What do you think should be done to mitigate the risk of people with mental illness or other disabilities being harmed by law enforcement? Do you support the approach taken by the Initiative?
POLICE USE OF FORCE
In recent months, there have been many videos in the media showing police using lethal force against people of color. However, concerns over use of force by law enforcement are not limited to communities of color – there have been many examples of questionable use of force against people with disabilities. In particular, fear and lack of understanding has led to shootings or lethal force toward people with mental illness, traumatic brain injuries, autism, and those who are Deaf and hard of hearing. Spokane had its own painful example, in the death of Otto Zehm.
Washington citizens will vote on Initiative 940 in the election this year. This initiative will make law enforcement more accountable under the law for unreasonable use of force, and mandates additional training of law enforcement.
FAMILY SUPPORT-WORKFORCE QUESTION :
What steps would you suggest the state take to increase the availability of workers to serve people with developmental disabilities? How would you ensure that workers are well-trained and qualified?
Throughout the social service system, there is a severe shortage of workers. This is true in the mental health system, in the state institutions, and particularly in the community, where individuals with disabilities often cannot find a qualified person to assist with personal care services in their home.
There are challenges in all aspects of workforce development. This includes recruiting workers, providing appropriate training, and retaining them. The shortage of workers is severe, and is becoming more acute as the current strong economy presents other opportunities for employment.